Catalyst for Change Part 2

On to part 2 of Catalyst for Change…

Well, after the chest pain I felt when Mike, Gavin and I were walking the dogs at the park, somewhere in my consciousness there was concern. I wasn’t thinking about it actively but it must have been there because otherwise why would I do what I did next.

We went for the walk in the morning. All day I was feeling discomfort and breathlessness. Not overly so. Not where I would grab my chest. But yes, I felt something.

Finally, that evening when everyone was there: Mike, Gavin, Joe, his wife Min and of course the dogs, I went up to the room we were staying in to lie down. Joe was doing his homework, he went back to school to get an engineering degree and was always swamped in school work. Gavin was playing games on the computer. Mike was reading. Min was chillaxin after working all day. I laid on the bed thinking, was something wrong, should I do something, what was there to do. Finally, I called Mike and Joe into the room. I told them about how I was feeling.

“Maybe we should cut the trip early and head back home,” Mike said.

“Whoa, that means you think this is something. If this is something should I be driving 1,000 miles.”

“No, Mom, you shouldn’t. You should go to the emergency room.”

“I don’t know.” I looked over at Mike. He looked overwhelmed.

“Mom, if it is something then you don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere and have to find a hospital.”

“That’s true,” Mike said.

“Listen why don’t I take you to the hospital now. Get it checked out. If its nothing then you will have peace of mind.”

“Yeah, okay.” I looked at Mike again. He was nodding.

“Where would you like to go. There is a hospital up the street. It will take us about 10 minutes. Or there is a heart hospital about a half hour away.”

I thought a minute. “Let’s go to the one close by. I’m sure it is nothing and then we don’t have to be driving so far.”

“I’ll go tell Min.”

Joe turned and hurried out of the room. I wanted to reach out and grab him back. Tell him maybe it was all a mistake. Maybe I shouldn’t go.

I turned my attention back to Mike. He was looking at the floor, his mouth tightened to a thin line.

“Maybe you should stay here with Gavin. He’s going to need you.”

He nodded.

Next thing I knew there was a flurry of activity. Min was gathering up stuff for the what was anticipated as a long wait in a waiting room. Joe was grabbing his phone, keys, wallet and whatever else is on his five list. Has five things he needs to leave the house. If you only counts four he missed something and has to figure out what it is.

I came down stairs to talk to Gavin.

“Hey, Gavin,”

He pulled his eyes away from the screen.

“Listen, Uncle Joe and Aunt Min are going to take me to the hospital to have that pain in my chest looked at. Grampy’s going to stay here with you. We shouldn’t be gone to long.” Gavin was with me when I had the chest pains so he knew there was something.

Gavin swiveled in his chair to face me. “Are you going to be okay, Grammy. Are you going to die?”

“No, no, honey. I’m not going to die. Come here.” I walked towards him and he stood up from the chair. I gathered him in an embrace. “I’m going to be okay. We just want to get it checked out. I love you. Grampy’s going to take good care of you.” I kissed the top of his head.

“I love you too, Grammy.” I kissed his check and he sat back down to play his game. His latest was Captain Underpants.

Before I knew it Joe, Min and I were in his car headed for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen.

It was a small hospital, easy to get around. We found the emergency room in no time and all three of us walked up to the desk. A woman at the desk looked up. Joe and Min stood to the side clearly not about to let me have them take over. Tentatively, I stepped closer to the desk

“Can I help you,” the woman asked.

“Well, ah, yes, um, I have been having this sort of chest pain for the last couple of days.”

The woman pushed back from her chair and called into the back room. “Chest pain.”

I felt stunned by her words, taken aback.

Someone immediately came out and took me to the rooms in a wheel chair.

I was ushered into a room and instantly people were around me hooked me up to EKG leads, starting an iv, wrapping a blood pressure cuff around my arm, placing my finger in the O2 lead. Blood was withdrawn from my IV to do a blood test.

Once my vitals were up on the monitor it became clear that something was up. My blood pressure was 201/102. or roughly thereabouts. My heart rate was slow, about 66.

“Mom, you need to relax.” Joe said.

“I don’t feel nervous.”

Min pulled out a small fleece blanked, the kind that you make by tying a bunch of ends. She covered me up. “Thank you Min.” I smiled at her.

“Mum, this keep you warm. This for you.” She patted the blanket. I didn’t know at the time but this was a gift that she was giving me to take home. “This is nice.” She busied her self straightening it out making sure I was good and covered.

Min is from China and speaks pretty good English for the most part. Joe and Min have been married almost three years now. She is a blessing to our family and I am delighted that Joe finally found a woman who is as giving to him as he is to her. She is loving, generous, warm and giving to all. It’s just her nature. She even made a big hit with Gavin by getting him Skylander sheets.

Before long a doctor came in and asked me to tell him what happened. I went through the spiel of the last couple of days. I told him my history of a CABG. I told him about the stress test a year and a half ago, that I had a murmur which was the result of an aortic valve stenosis. The doctor listened and nodded along.

“Well, your cardiac enzymes are elevated. That is indicating that there was some heart muscle damage.”

He went on to tell me that I would be admitted, that I would have to stay till Monday when a cardiologist would do a catheterization. I asked him why I couldn’t go home and come back on Monday.  He said it was because I had unstable angina.  Meaning with unstable angina you never know what will happen.

“Yes, Mom, this is where you need to be,”  Joe chimed in.In the mean time

In the mean time the doctor ordered a nitroglycerin patch. He explained it would deliver a continuous amount of low dose nitroglycerin and needed to be kept on. He ordered some sort of blood thinning shot that had to be delivered in my stomach. “Because of your traveling,” he said. “Just to make sure no clots develop.” In addition, he ordered a baby aspirin and a statin.

All of this was indicated that there was some serious trouble. Truthfully, none of this was sinking in. I wasn’t getting it. None of this was wasted on Joe, however.

‘Aren’t you glad we came, Mom. You didn’t even want to come. “ Concern showed on his face. Joe’s face is very expressive. All of what he is feeling is there on display. He looked up at my blood pressure reading. It was still up there. “Mom try and relax.”

“I am. I don’t understand it.”

Finally, because I was going to be admitted I convinced Joe and Min to go home. I would be fine. “Go tell Mike what is happening.” We weren’t getting cell coverage in the room.

Before I could go up to my room a nurse had to deliver an intravenous push of some blood pressure medication. I say push because she had to insert a syringe into my iv and slowly push in the medicine over a five-minute period.

While waiting for my room I think the whole hospital came in to ask me what brought me in. I had to repeat myself a bazillion time.

My blood pressure was a nice respectable 120/80 so I was taken up to my room.

For the weekend I mostly just laid in bed playing the Wizard of OZ Magic Match game on my phone, getting my stomach shots and nitro patches, having my blood drawn. I had an echocardiogram and x-ray. I didn’t really watch TV. I had a book but didn’t really read. I just laid there calmly playing my games. Mike came for a few brief visits. He brought Gavin a couple of times. Joe and Min came. They brought flowers, chocolate, fruit. I tell you, those two! Anyway, for the most part it was just me and my phone.

So yes, my thought is that there was some part of me, some aware tuned in part that allowed this whole thing to be set in motion. Retrospectively, I would say this part was orchestrating to save my life.

I can see this is going to be a multi part story. I’ll stop here. What happened on Monday was a trip in itself.

Collecting experiences on the trail in Menomonee Park

The long journey to change.

A Catalyst for Change

So, why, you, the vast and expansive void, may ask, why return to your blog after more than four years of silence. What was the catalyst? Because more often than not there is a catalyst when someone decides to make a big change, move forward on something that was pushed to the side, all but forgotten, shunned even. Well, as it so happens there was a catalyst. And it has a story. A three-part story, actually. So for part 1.

This last June, Mike and I decided to take a nice little road trip in our brand new Jayco, Jayfeather 7 hybrid camper, which I absolutely adore by the way. We were going to head south to the Dallas, Texas area to visit our oldest son and family. We decided it would be fun to take our six-year-old grandson with us. The one we have been helping to take care of since he was born. When we went to Texas last winter for an extended period of time, Gavin, the said grandson, said he wanted to come with us. We promised him we would take him when he was on summer break. It was June, the time had come to make good on our promise. We made our plans and set out on our trip leaving on a Sunday.

To make it easier on Gavin we stopped to camp three times along the way  allowing for downtime and swimming, which Gavin could do all day, every day. There were some challenges, Gavin didn’t like the bugs, didn’t like the dark, at one place there was no swimming but we worked through them.

Finally, on Wednesday we were in Dallas. We were later than expected and the RV storage Joe, the oldest son, picked for us to park our camper for a week was closing at 3. He called the storage place and got them to wait a half an hour.

I was driving. Joe was watching us on Life360, a phone app that allows friends and family, using GPS, to track their whereabouts. While tracking us on the app Joe was also on the phone directing us to where we needed to go.

“Turn right at the next light,” Joe’s voice blasted from our radio. We have a Honda Pilot with blue tooth capabilities.

I glanced at the clock on the console.  3:15  “We’re not going to make it”, I cried.

“Mom, you’ll make it. I have the best route for you. The next intersection is University Dr. Turn left then stay on that and you’ll see it. It’s about five miles ahead.”

Well, we did make it five minutes too late but the lady was still there waiting for us. I’ll tell you it was a white knuckle experience. I was frazzled.

We finally got to Joe’s condo. I was still shaking from the adrenaline of the drive to the storage place. At Joe,s I jumped out of the car and pulled some luggage out of the back. I dashed to the house, Gavin close on my heels. I opened the door and burst in. Joe was in the bathroom off the living room area. I could tell because the door to the bathroom was closed. I raced with my bag up two flights of stairs to the bedrooms. I hoisted the bag,  plopped it on the bed and spun around to go get more. I met Gavin on the stairs. All of a sudden I stopped dean in my tracks.  I grabbed my chest panting. I bent over. “Oh, my god,” I said.

“What’s wrong Grammy,” Gavin said.

“My chest hurts,” I told him.

Joe came out of the bathroom. “Why does your chest hurt Mom,” he said.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

I didn’t know then, but now I know, I was a having a small heart attack. I didn’t realize that then because, once I stopped for a minute the pain subsided and my breathing eased. There was still some pain but I thought, ah, maybe acid reflux. Oh, I had some discomfort on and off for the next couple of days but nothing to speak of.

On Friday,  we took Gavin for a walk with our dogs at the park. It was a large park with many paved and dirt trails. It was morning and aleady starting to heat up. The dogs wanted the water they saw at the bottom of this very deep ravine. It looked like there was a sort of trail going down so I told the dogs to go ahead. We, Gavin, Mike and I, watched from the top as the dogs splashed in the water and had a drink. The younger dog made it back up with no problem but our older dog Angie who is 12 looked up at me pleading.

“Help me, I can’t get back up,” her eyes seemed to say.

“Oh, jeez,” I remarked. “Fine.”

I went down the slippery, muddy path. I got about half way down and pointed to where there was an easier way for Angie to get out of the little creek. “Over there,” I said. “Go over there.”

She saw where I was pointing and made it up the hill. Now, I had to get up. It was rough going. Nothing to grab onto. I took a step and slipped trying to catch myself from tumbling to the bottom.  I landed on my butt and got mud on the seat of my nice green Capris. I found some vegetation to step on to get some footing.  I was practically on all fours. I reached out for a spindly little branch to use to pull myself up.

Finally, I got close enough to Mike  and reached out his hand. I stretched my arm and was able to grasp his hand. We clasped each other and he tugged me up. Once I was at the top, the hard pain and breathlessness hit me smack dab in the chest, again. I grabbed my chest instinctively and waited for it to subside. Which it did. I didn’t know what to make of this.

I should have had an idea. I mean 14 years ago I had a triple Coronary Artery Bypass Graft or CABG, pronounced cabbage by the medical community. However, because I had 14 years without an incident, I thought I healed myself. I made sure to watch my diet; I followed weight watchers. I exercised, walking over an hour a day, racking up to 18,000 steps altogether. I thought I managed my stress levels, although Mike will tell you not too well. So, you could say I was in denial, I would like to all it hope.

Getting ready for the catalyst, for the transformation.

To my credit I did think something wasn’t quite right and a year and a half ago I told my cardiologist. He did a stress test and echo cardiogram and proclaimed me just fine. So, I was just fine. Why would I think something was wrong? Ah, maybe because I should be the one paying attention to my own body. Sigh, that’s another story

I did eventually go get it looked at, in Texas and that is the second part of my catalyst So, to be continued…

Acting Self-compassionately

Green Tara

Green Tara

I’m coming back to my blog. Or as I recently learned sitting in a circle with women to delve into self compassion, I am coming home, to myself, again. This is an act of self compassion, returning to my blog. I want to get out thoughts, ideas and ponderings that rumble around in my head. Up till now my dear husband Mike was the only one forced to sit in on my “lectures”, listening patiently and attentively as I share with him my latest mental wanderings, which usually took place in the morning. I would wake up with thoughts and emotions swirling in my head. I’d mention something to Mike and I’d be off and running.

This morning after finishing my thoughts I looked over at Mike and shrugged as if to say. I know, I know, I’m boring you.

Instead, Mike said, “You should write that down before you forget.”

I looked down and smiled. What a mind reader.

“I am thinking of blogging again,” I said, almost shyly, almost tentatively but with a kind of joyous determination in my heart. “But this time I am not going to focus on what I should write, how I should write. I am not going to worry about having proper links and references. This time it is going to be Jazzminy Crone Chronicles: just me. I am going to put voice to my thoughts and feelings and if no one sees it, if I get no traffic, then amen. Because this time I am going to write to activate my throat chakra. To get things out and moving.” I put my hands together like a cup. I placed them around my gut and moved them up through my chest and out my throat and mouth. “If someone stumbles upon my blog and likes it, that’s great but that is not going to be my goal. I really think that was my goal before. Which is why I got so stressed about it all. Which is one reason why I abandoned it.”

“That’s a great idea,” he said. “But here is my advice to you, my thought about you after knowing you for so long. You come up with great ideas and then you don’t do anything about them, you forget about them.”

I nodded raising the left corner of mouth.

“So, go do some writing now. Get the momentum going.”

I stood up. “All right, but I want it said, for the record, that I am going to write now but NOT because you said I should. Okay. You don’t tell me what to do.”

We both laughed

“I am the puppet master. I control the strings,” Mike said waving his hands in the air.

“Yeah, right, okay.” I left the room and headed straight for the computer room.

So, in closing I want to state out loud, into the void that this writing, this blog is an act of self compassion because I am opening up my throat chakra and allowing my voice to be heard, how ever small or meek. I am honoring my self, my voice, my thoughts, my feelings, my ideas. I am doing this and allowing it to be public but at the same time not actively trying to be on the search engines to try in get more traffic.  Again, acting self-compassionately, I am letting what is, is.

Just in Limbo or I Believe in Myself

Just in Limbo or I Believe in Myself

I open my eyes. Startled I sit up and peer over at the small old-fashioned alarm clock complete with numbers, hands and a built-in light sitting atop Mike’s night table. 6:15. I lay back down. I’m not taking care of my little 2 ½ year old grandson today which means I can write all morning. I moan and bring my hand up to my forehead. I feel groggy. My eyes hurt. I had a restless night tossing and turning. Last night I counted down from ten picturing the numbers in my mind in different colors, first blue then green, hoping to quiet my mind.

At some point I must have succeeded because I eventually feel asleep but I don’t feel refreshed this morning. Sighing I get out of bed and stumble to the computer room to turn on the computer. It takes a while for that sucker to fire up so on my way back to bed I stop and grab my phone off the charger from the living room end table. I unhook it and cradle it in the palm of my hand. I crawl back into bed. I’ll just check my email on my phone, I think, then I won’t have to do that when I go to my computer. Instead I can just sit down and start writing. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. I prop up my pillows and nestle my head down. I bring up my HTC android phone and open my Google mail account. I scan through my in-box.

Farmer’s Almanac, Earth Day Special!
Amazon Deals, Pedi/Mani or Haircut deals

Thought for the Day, How to do Exactly What You Want
Ann Elizabeth-Nagle, Ann’s CD Release Concert
Deliberately Delicious, [Jazzminey Crone Chronicles] Comment: “resurging with spring”

I smile when I see the email from Ann and open it first. I read about her up coming CD release concert and I feel joy inside at her hard-earned and hard-won success. Sighing, I close that and stare at the email from Deliberately Delicious. I feel oddly numb.

Last night I just finished reading the memoir Live Through This: a mother’s memoir of runaway daughters and reclaimed love by Debra Gwartney and tossed the book on the floor when I was done. It felt unsatisfying. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I identified with the story about a single woman raising four daughters and the trouble she had with oldest two. I didn’t have four daughters but I understood dealing with out of control teenagers and feeling helpless. I was hoping to understand how things got better for her and her daughters. I didn’t’ get that understanding and was feeling let down.

I started to think of the memoir I am writing and I hope that I am not going to let readers down but how can I not think that I would. It’s not like I am the greatest writer. However, I have been writing on this memoir for over a year. I produced over 100,000 words. At times I felt the writing was going well. At others I felt it was a mess. I paid to have it reviewed. Show don’t tell is what I got. How can you show everything, I thought, the book could go on forever. After being in the dumps about the critique for a week or two, I finally decided to do something about it. I went to Amazon.com and found writing books and ordered four of them.

Showing and Telling: Learn How to Show and When to Tell for Powerful & Balanced Writing by Laurie Alberts,
The Describers Dictionary by David Grambs
The Emotional Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors and Readers, and Set Up Your Novel for Success by Jeff Gerke

I also checked out from Pauline Haas Public Library the book:
You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: the Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction From Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between by Lee Gutkind.

Some of those books I am reading, some I am using as a reference and some I am doing the exercises in. I think its making a difference. I reworked my memoir making a whole new folder for it called “New Version”. I am making use of more scenes and dialogue. Making it more dynamic.  At least that is what I hope.

But the question still remains and the one that rolled around in my head last night, What’s the point? There are tons of memoirs out there.  Everybody and there mother wrote or is writing a memoir.  Who cares about mine? Why bother? My voice is just one in a sea of voices all clamoring to be heard. I know, I know, I need to focus on the writing and not worry about the end result. It’s just that I am a want-it-now kind of woman so that bit of advice is hard to follow.

And now in my email is a message from Ann. Talented beautiful Ann who struggled with finding a place in her life a midst all her responsibilities for her music. But she did it. She found the time. She found her voice. She got a producer and went to Nashville, cut some tracks. I heard one and the sound is amazing. The message is uplifting. When I talked to her on the phone last night before I finished my book, she told me how Nashville is teeming with singer song writers. She didn’t say she felt like she was just one in the crowd. She just reveled in her experience. So what’s wrong with me.

Sometimes I just want to chuck it all. Wave the white flag and say, Okay, life, you win, I give up. Then I get a comment on my long dormant blog. Someone out there remembers me. Is glad I’m back. It’s bitter-sweet. I am touched by being remembered but I’m not really back. In fact my goal was to pull the plug on my blog. Stop paying for the domain, stop paying for the web service. Just yank the whole thing. Yesterday while I was walking the dogs I thought I better get to it and take care of that blog before it is automatically renewed and taken out of my hands.

Here’s the truth. I haven’t written in my blog because I think I need to be uplifting and inspiring. That is what I said I was to do. Most times, I don’t feel uplifting and inspiring. Far from it. If I try to write something up lifting it would be forced and it would show. I just can’t do it. I am left with nothing to say. I told myself I am not writing because I need to spend the time on my memoir. That’s partly true but not the whole of it. The truth is I am struggling with my choice in choosing to write.

By the way, after I checked my mail from my bed in hopes of saving more time for writing I played mahjong on my phone for at least 45 minutes. The only reason I stopped was because the dogs wanted to go out. Some mornings I am playing for an hour or more. Valuable time I could spend writing but I piss away. It’s not the blog that’s keeping me from writing my memoir its my distractions, my resistance.

And where am I with ditching my blog. In limbo. Just in limbo.

So here is a blog post. It is not uplifting. It is not inspiring. It is just me plugging along. It is just me for some reason writing a blog post. Be it good, bad or indifferent.

And for a bit of uplifting, which I am in dire need of,  here is another one of my photos with a message from myself to myself to help get me through.

IMG_3468

resurging with spring

Springtime resurgence

At least, I suspect I may be resurging with spring.  It seems I was dormant like the bear during the winter.   As least as far as writing this blog is concerned.  I haven’t written on my blog in a while and I am wondering what I want to do with it.  I’m thinking of revamping it.  Until I get that worked out, I will post a picture once a week with an affirmation.  I am listening to Bob Griswold’s self-esteem CD.  To make the affirmations I hear on the CD more personal I added an affirmation to a few of the to photo’s I took while out walking.  Here is one such picture

Reflection